Sports Column: Marketing pays off for Warren Central’s Beau Davis
Published 11:00 am Sunday, February 11, 2024
Beau Davis spent the past couple of years doing everything he was supposed to do to earn a college football scholarship.
He worked out in the offseason. He played well on the field. He went on summer tours of college camps and reached out to coaches. None of it seemed to gain traction, so he changed tactics.
The Warren Central offensive lineman started marketing himself. He smothered coaches with attention, covered social media with quirky posts, and capped it all off by announcing his commitment at Waffle House.
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It was a fun, 21st century approach to recruiting that got the response he was hoping for. On Wednesday, the all-state center signed with Mississippi College.
“We figured out that in order to be recruited I’ve got to stick out a little bit,” Davis said. “I was constantly on Twitter and Facebook talking to these coaches and saying stuff to make them notice me a little bit. I’m an undersized center. I’m not going to get noticed that much. The MC coaches said they loved me for that stuff.”
Having a strong social media game has become almost as important for high school football players as their on-field skills. With thousands of players across the country using Twitter/X to post highlights of themselves, and hundreds of experienced college players bouncing around in the NCAA’s transfer portal, the competition for attention — let alone actual scholarship offers — is fierce.
“It’s really important, because you’re trying to get into a college. You’ve got the transfer portal and guys are always coming so it’s harder for high school athletes,” Davis said. “I felt like I had to stick out in some kind of way. Doing stuff like that, I felt like I stuck out.”
Davis took it a step further with what amounted to a viral ad campaign for himself. He set up a website, thebeaudavis.com, that had summaries of his accomplishments in the classroom and community service as well as football. Testimonials from coaches and teachers were included like product endorsements.
He showed some self-effacing humor, like the post in which he wore a garish bright red tuxedo and cowboy hat to a school dance. Posed in front of a Dodge Challenger, he looked like he was starring in a low-budget commercial for a used car lot. Other posts had the feel of advertisements for lawyers or insurance agents promoting their services as he wore a suit and a thousand-watt smile.
In late January, Davis started teasing the grand finale to his journey. He promised to conduct his “hat ceremony” — when players announce their college selection by revealing the school’s hat — at Waffle House.
“Just to be different. O-linemen love to eat, and one place they love to eat is the Waffle House,” Davis said. “I said let’s go ahead and do this. A lot of people were talking about it so I said I’d better go ahead and do this.”
— Beau Davis (@beaumdavis50) February 5, 2024
On Monday morning, he did. Beau and his father, Warren Central public address announcer Brandon Davis, headed to the Waffle House on East Clay Street to video the “ceremony.”
In the one-minute video posted to Twitter/X, Davis endorsed the patty melt with double hash browns. Once the food was gone, a baseball cap from Mississippi College slid into frame atop an empty plate. Brief segments outside the restaurant bookended the video.
He said the whole production drew confused stares from employees and other diners.
“They didn’t know what was going on,” he said with a laugh. “It was fun, though.”
Now that he’s got his college scholarship, Davis is hoping to cash in with some lucrative name, image and likeness deals. His first target is obvious.
“I might get me a Waffle House shirt or something,” he joked.
His father would like that as well. A couple of All-Star Special breakfasts will help recoup the cost of promoting his all-star son.
“I hope so. That commitment ceremony cost me $30,” Brandon Davis said with a laugh.
Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org